The chipotle-miso glazed black cod from Zengo, Santa Monica. Image from

Anyone who lives in the L.A./West Los Angeles area knows the hot new place to go is Santa Monica Place – a newly renovated mall beside the 3rd Street Promenade with a bevvy of high end shops and exciting new restaurants to try.

Tonight, my wife and I visited Santa Monica place and decided to try out Richard Sandoval’s restaurant: Zengo.

What is Zengo you ask?  According to our server and the menu, “Zengo” means “Give n’ Take” – which is basically Richard Sandoval’s take on the Tapas style dining format infusing both Latin and Asian styles of cooking.

Trust me, “interesting” is probably the only thought that came to my mind when I first heard about it.  Quite honestly, I was a little worried that not only was it was going to be expensive, but it was also going to (for the lack of a better term) suck.

Thankfully, although the food is a little on the pricey side, the ambiance, service and food are worth shelling out the money for.  From the moment we walked in, we were impressed with the interior design (the Asian and Latin inspired pieces) as well as our server Rachid.

Everything he suggested was spot on and fantastic, especially the chipotle-miso glazed black cod.

As most of my good friends know, my true measurement for any restaurant is simple:

  1. There is a dish that is so good, I can remember it for the rest of my life
  2. I am willing to do anything to go back to that restaurant for that specific dish

And the black cod, my friends, is one of those dishes etched in my mind forever.

So the next time you are in the L.A. area, make sure to check out Santa Monica Place, Zengo, Rachid and the black cod.  The buttery texture and incredible flavor of the dish will make you want to come back over and over again.

For more information about Zengo in Santa Monica, you can visit Zengo’s official website.


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